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Cost-effective, long lasting and versatile. Just three of the reasons small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) use signs and graphics to help market their business.
A FedEx survey* showed that small business owners receive great value from their signs and graphics with almost 70% of consumers surveyed saying they had purchased a product or service because a sign caught their eye.

With so many small and medium sized businesses trying to stand out from the crowd, we wanted to share some of our top tips to help you promote your business.

1. Planning ahead and setting your budget
Most signs and graphics are completely bespoke and personalised so need to be manufactured to order. As a result, you should typically allow a 10-14 day lead time. Your sign company may need to conduct a site survey and depending on the specification, fabricate your signs or order in specialist materials.

Illuminated fabricated signIlluminated fabricated sign

Consider your signage as an investment for your business and include the costs as part of your budget. With the FedEx survey* also showing 68% believe a store’s signage is reflective of the quality of its products and services, it’s important to make a positive first impression.

A competitive price is important but make sure you also base your purchase decision on service, quality of materials and workmanship. Buying on price alone could lead to an inferior quality product and end up being something you’ll need to replace sooner than you expect.

2. Go for a consistent look
Signs and graphics help you to create an identity. Whether you’re going big and bold or subtle and discreet, they’re able to help you convey your message or core values.

Wall graphics are an effective way to reinforce your brandWall graphics are an effective way to reinforce your brand

We recommend keeping a consistent look across marketing items such as leaflets, displays and your signs and graphics as this helps to create an easily identifiable image which will help with your brand recognition. Continue this look across your website and social media channels too.

Designs will not need to be exact replicas but can be adapted to suit their purpose by using the same logo format or colouring.

3. Keep the message simple
We see hundreds of signs every day and one thing we often tell our customers is that ‘less is more’. So, it’s important to convey your message as simply as possible to encourage recall and retention. Try to avoid cramming lots of text or too much info on any one sign.

Using imagery can help Using imagery can help convey your message

If people cannot understand what you’re selling or who you are because of a cryptic slogan they are likely to forget you.

Use images if possible, contrasting colours for visibility and keep your point clear and succinct.

4. Be seen 24/7
Signs and graphics represent a great investment as they can be viewed 24/7 and in situ for many years.

Vehicle graphics are a cost effective advertising toolVehicle graphics are a cost effective advertising tool

One of the most effective mobile advertising methods is vehicle graphics as a vehicle could be seen by over 3000 people every hour of the working day**. Promote your business while you’re out and about to reinforce your brand. You can even use reflective graphics to really stand out at night.

Illuminated fascia signIlluminated fascia sign

Illuminating your premises signs can also be very beneficial. It can assist with developing your business’ personality as well as adding impact to your signage in low light.

5. Include a call to action
When using graphics for advertising, it can be beneficial to have a call to action (where appropriate).

Display signs can include calls to action Display signs can include calls to action

This could include words such as ‘view in store today’, or ‘apply within’ or even ‘register on our website to qualify’. This helps to create an action required by the audience and in turn, have them engage with your business.

6. Be bold
Imagery can catch your audience’s attention much more quickly than wording ever will, so, where relevant, consider using photographs or icons to get your message out there. By using bold or contrasting colours you can stand out from the crowd.

Consider choosing a digital signage solution. This offers you great flexibility in adding engaging content which can also be updated regularly, making it a cost-effective product. Plus, the system itself can be moved to suit your surroundings and situation. Choose from internal or external screens, interactive systems, video walls and more.

7. Show what differentiates you

Focus on what makes you differentFocus on what makes you different

As a small business you may be competing with national or international chains offering a very similar product range. Use your signs and graphics to create a local identity which resonates with your audience and differentiates you from ‘faceless’ organisations. This will help to increase your brand recognition and encourage new customers.

8. Cross promote
Traditional signs and graphics are just one form of marketing. Most small and medium sized businesses will have their own website or social media channels and this is a perfect opportunity to use multiple avenues to attract your customer base. Include your web address on signs and graphics, promote special offers through promotional displays as well as via your digital marketing channels. The opportunities to target customers are vast.

9. Maintain
First impressions really count and so it’s important your signage positively reflects your business. Tired, faded or damaged signs can negatively affect your company and should be rectified as soon as possible.

10. Ask the experts
A sign company you can rely on is a must. Signs Express has been established for 30 years and in this time, has helped tens of thousands of people to kick-start their business. We recognise that you may not have the resources available to design your own graphics so can take this stress out of the process. We also understand that as there are so many options available, it can be difficult to decide on the best solution for your business and so our centres are able to help you specify and achieve the right look for your brand and budget.
Find your local Signs Express centre.

Source *The FedEx Office ‘What’s your Sign’ survey.
Source **3M study on the power of vehicle advertising.
Exterior signage example
Exterior signage exampleExterior signage example
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